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Friday, January 9, 2015

Challenges and Changes

Flipping through the State Licensing Inspectors’ twenty-six pages of deficiencies listed for the rural hospital, I felt the two-ton load bow my shoulders. Why in the world had I taken this job as the administrator; what did I know about fixing things here

Then, my eyes came to rest on one item I knew I not only could fix, but very much wanted to. I’d begin with that move.

The administrative desks had been placed just around the corner from the main lobby’s front door—no barrier of any kind to separate the open area from the desks. As one crossed the threshold into the hospital, he encountered two chairs and a little table set against the wall. While neither of these areas constituted deficiencies, the constant chatter and hospital-related noises made it hard for me to concentrate. What I had in mind would fix the deficiency and give me a quiet place to work on writing all those job descriptions, policy and procedure manuals, and everything else that needed my pen in the next two weeks.

“Our first order of business,” I said to the Secretary/Medical records Coordinator, “is to move these desks.” When her eyebrows shot to her graying hairline, I had a pretty good idea just what she wanted to say to the newbie wielding a pen and giant smile, but I pressed on anyway. “We have to provide a separate waiting room for the visitors to the hospital; we are no longer allowed to just use the activities room at the end of that corridor, which is specifically for the nursing home patients.”

“But, we’ve always had the administrator’s desk right there. People are used to coming to say ‘hello’ when they drop in to pay a bill or visit a patient.”

“And, they will still be able to stop by to greet me; they’ll just need to climb the stairs to my office to do it. Your desk can remain down here. We can move those things, and have the carpenter make a counter to put right over there,” I turned, my outstretched arm indicating the current location of the two chairs and a table. “Then, your desk can be right behind that, so you’ll be protected from the cold wind that rushes in whenever someone comes through that door. The person can stand at the counter to let you know he wants to ask for help or pay a bill, etc.”

“But, we’ve always--”

“I know, but these papers tell us we need to make changes to keep those doors open. We’ll begin with this one; a separate space won’t be that hard to accomplish.”

I felt great about the change, even though the secretary insisted on a buzzer between her desk and mine. The former-administrative area made a much better waiting room and this upstairs office a quieter place for me to work.

And, work I did! Early every morning, until past dinnertime, I plowed through paperwork, scribbling notes and scratching out rough drafts of job descriptions. It quickly became obvious that I needed clerical help.

I had used a late-model IBM Memory Typewriter a couple of weeks earlier when pounding out medical records in a large regional hospital, but I now had an old Underwood manual typewriter to polish-up my pages. The globs of White-Out dotting my pages caused me to consider how much of the budget could be saved by hiring a typist to crank out those nicely-prepared volumes.

Before the end of Week One in this two-week administrative marathon, I had things rolling as well as possible. Someone else occupied the seat in front of that little metal typing table, while I filled sheet after sheet of yellow pages in a stack of legal pads. I simply couldn’t work any harder and neither could the typist. But, would our efforts be enough?

In the Bible, it’s recorded that God addressed the concerns of the young prophet Jeremiah by reminding him: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?”(Jer. 32:27)

In the Gospel of Luke, I read that Jesus told the people, “Nothing is impossible for God.”(Lk 1:37)

Finishing this task in time seemed totally impossible for me, but if God had placed me in this job, I figured He must have a way he planned to help me accomplish the impossible. I just had to keep at it. Work as hard as I could and trust God to do what I couldn’t. But, still, would I have enough time, even working every waking hour?

*****Check in tomorrow to read the conclusion.*****

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